So I wrote the cover story for the 2019 winter issue of Auburn Magazine, and it’s about how James Dean, the Auburn engineering grad behind the whole, amazing Pete the Cat thing, doesn’t hate Auburn, despite popular belief in Bulloch County, Georgia.
I mean, would a guy who hated Auburn draw this eagle?
Speaking of, I only just now realized that the story behind the eagle was cut from the story. So here it is…
So go to Auburn, everyone told him. Great engineering school, everyone told him.
His favorite class? Art—basic drawing—during his last quarter. It was 1982.
“I have this really vivid memory of walking past the art building and there were students out on the grass drawing pictures of buildings, and I wanted to do that,” Dean says. “My teacher was fantastic. He taught me a lot. By the end of the quarter, he said ‘you should think about studying art.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m graduating.’ But that always stuck with me. He thought I had some talent.”
He graduated, took a job with Georgia Power in the land of Herschel Walker, and didn’t draw anything for a decade.
“I didn’t draw at all for ten years when I moved to Athens,” Dean says. “That was not a great time to be an Auburn fan living in Athens.”
Case in point: the print shop incident.
“I’d drawn a picture of an eagle and I wanted to sell it in Auburn,” says the man who supposedly hated Auburn. “This was right after I graduated. And I went to this place in Athens and they looked at my drawing and said ‘oh, we can’t make prints of that, that won’t work.'”
His first attempt to maybe generate a little extra income with his art… and it’s thwarted by people who actually hated Auburn.
He took it as a sign.
You can read the rest of the story here. A lot of folks seem to like it. Let me know what you think! And FYI, if you dig that Pete the Tiger art up at the top, you can see more here (if you want to become a patron on Patreon).